I tend to believe this is a good thing for most of us, I can understand you argument, however I was always told the policy was they would support the current version and one prior, and releases were suppose to be at least once per year, sometimes twice (every 6 to 9 months), so you would only been receiving SM 16 updates until SM 18 came out, which could be around 1 year.
I do believe SmarterTools should support SM 16 for about another year, with security updates, because this was not announced way in advance. If they announced this change when SM 16 came out, that would be understandable.
But I do believe a lot of people have Upgrade Protection, since it is REQUIRED, to run any of the addons (Cyren (Antispam/Antivirus), MessageSniffer, EAS, EWS) and now coming soon with SM 17 (MAPI). So that is why I think a lot of people will enjoy free unlimited phone/email support thrown in.
I do think this will be better in the long run, as SmarterTools can focus on the current version only, and people will be able to contact support about issue and not worry about costing them a support ticket that will be refunded if it is indeed a bug. You see this all the time on this forum, open a ticket, if it is a bug, you will get it refunded.
If cost is an issue with you or anyone else, I see two options, first, you can use an authorized reseller, that gives you an additional 10% off what SmarterTools charges direct. Second, you can wait for sales, unless they are going to change things, they do tend to have Holiday sales, that could give you breaks on reinstatements, new purchases of products and sometimes renewals (I think I saw a renewal once). They used to do support tickets discounts, but that will be going away obviously.
Once this is all in place, you could always try to reach out to sales when you renewal is up, they maybe able to offer you some type of deal, it is always worth a try.
Last, SM 17 is going to be way better than SM 16, I do not see why you would want to not upgrade, as stated by Tim (Thank you Tim very much for taking time out of your always busy schedule to post replies to David each and every time, this should you guys care).
My background, running SmarterMail since v3 or so (12+ years). So I have been through all the hick-ups too, I understand the prior beta releases were very unstable, etc. I have not played around much with v17, but I do not see much complains on the forums, and think this will be one of the best releases yet!
I to be honest, I am not really looking forward to this change, it means I will be forced to renew my Upgrade Protection (I am hoping a sale will allow me to renew it at a discount *HINT* *HINT*), because my company is small, and on a very tight budget, I was hoping to be able to run SM v17, and wait a year or two, and reinstate my upgrade protection during another sale, and only buy a couple support tickets, I only needed them to report bugs. But I might of needed MAPI, so I would of been forced to keep it active anyways.
To try to compare apples to apples (Or however that saying goes), If I were to buy a product like TV, computer, etc, that says it has a 3 year warranty on the box, and after a year, I was told they changed the program, and now I have to pay money for the second or third year, that wouldn't seem fair to me. I know you probably cannot compare this to what SmarterTools is doing, but this is the closest I can think of right now..
Pricing is not a factor, you can charge whatever you want, industry standard or what not, if you are undercharging for your product in the first place (Which I think "Tim" claims), you can charge more for renewals (Upgrade Protection) or whatever you will call it now, Maintenance and Support.
(NOTE - This is my option, I might not have all the facts straight, it is hard to keep up, and I do not have time to research everything before I post this. These are things I recall over the years.)